According to the Sunday Mirror, Michelle Stephenson didn’t expect to be selected at the audition for an “all Female Pop Act.” As a theater student, Michelle had experience performing at the Edinburgh Festival, and was a member of both the Young Vic and National Youth Theaters. Speaking in the 1998 documentary “Raw Spice,” Michelle told People that her nickname might have been “Smart Spice,” had she stayed in the group. But after spending some time with the rest of the girls, Michelle realized that “it wasn’t my kind of music and they were not living the lifestyle I wanted,” via the Sunday Mirror. She wanted to return to her first love: the theater. At this time, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which catalyzed her decision to leave the group.
However, Michelle’s departure from the group may not have been exclusively her idea. The band’s former manager Chris Herbert appeared in “Raw Spice” and claimed Stephenson was requested to leave because she didn’t fit in with the others, per People. Additionally, ex-bandmate Victoria Beckham felt Michelle wasn’t working as hard as the other members, according to Hit Entertainment. After departing the Spice Girls, Michelle went on to sing backing vocals for Ricky Martin and Julio Iglesias, and worked as a TV presenter. The Daily Star reports that she released “SHESongs,” a six-song EP, in 2003. As to her decision to leave the Spice Girls, Michelle is content, telling the Sunday Mirror that “you have to look forward.”